Tuesday, October 14, 2003

School, hospital ready to team up

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON - Students here will have access to the newest in athletic training and health education at their local high school under a pending agreement with Middletown Regional Hospital.

Mason Board of Education members are expected tonight to approve a three-year contract with the hospital that could later grow into a comprehensive fitness and medical program, estimated at a $300,000 value, at Mason High School and the adjoining community recreation center.

"The partnership allows us to provide more complete and comprehensive training as well as strength and conditioning service to our student population," Mason Superintendent Kevin Bright said Monday.

Bright has said the agreement will not cost the school system, with the hospital picking up almost all expenses. Hospital officials have said they are willing to handle the expense in return for tapping into a new northern Greater Cincinnati community.

"It's a win-win for everyone," said Larry James, vice president of marketing for the hospital.

Under the pact, part-time instructors from the hospital will begin assisting in Mason health education classes later this school year, explained Amy Spicher, director of secondary programs for Mason.

She said the partnership will also provide the high school's 2,137 students with professional shadowing and mentoring opportunities in the health-care industry at the hospital, which plans to move from a Butler County portion of Middletown to the city's eastern border in Warren County by 2006.

If approved by the board during its 7 p.m. meeting at the high school, the pact would replace Mason's partnership with TriHealth's Bethesda North Hospital.

E-mail mclark@enquirer.com

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